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backpacking
10 days ago

You do it once and that's it. This is not 10 miles total, it's closer to 13. Going there is an all uphill battle the whole way, then you get to an area where you have to be careful and traverse a decent amount of rocks. Once you get to the end the lake opens up and your thinking, "Yay I made it!" Then you realize the place is packed with lots of people all camping within 50 ft if each other because the lake is garbage and is completely surrounded by rocks funneling everyone into a small area with only 30 ft of lake access. I like to do overnight back pack trips to get away from people, not squished into a little area surrounded by people. So over all this trail sucks and I won't be doing it again.

This hike is amazing. Not a lot of people head this way, they usually stop at mason lake or Bandera. The incline beginning from Mason Lake is pretty tough, I think equal to climbing Bandera. But all alone I was at the top! On the way down I saw nobody headed to the top.

on Pratt Lake Trail

trail running
1 month ago

Nice trail with decent elevation. Not much in the way of scenery but a few small creeks here and there. Lightly traveled, saw fresh bear scat on the trail this morning so take your bear bells / bear spray because the berries are out and the bears are eating them to prepare for the winter / hibernation. Close to the road, so you will hear cars until you're about 1/2 way up. Granite mountain is better for scenery, scrambling but this is good if you want to get some miles in on a nicely maintained trail. Parking is tough, you'll need to park on the road if you come after 9am.

hiking
1 month ago

Huckleberries everywhere near Pratt Lake! We picked some and had enough for two pies. Bring a few bags to carry huckleberries back :)

hiking
1 month ago

Hike date: 5/15/2018. If you enjoy beautiful cascading waterfalls, crossing rapid-flowing streams, and navigating unmarked snow covered trails, this is the time to hike Pratt Lake.  There's still a lot of snow about 3miles in; a GPS w the Pratt Trail map is a must have to navigate in the snow.
The lush forest is beautiful, and many wildflowers are in bloom. The heavy snow melt due to recent record breaking temp fuels the  raging waterfalls which make some stream crossing challenging. It's all doable with good hiking boots (waterproof) and poles, and it's a ton of fun as long as you take each step carefully.
After the Island Lake and Pratt Lake junction (4miles in), the Pratt Trail turns into a steep descent and is completely covered in snow;  very difficult to navigate. Continuing down to Pratt Lake is not recommended unless you are familiar with the trail and terrain. 
Overall it's a beautiful hike with many water features through mid June. On a clear day, you will see Mt Rainier, nearby mountain peaks, and Olallie Lake on the Pratt Lake Trail. 

I hiked southbound July 13th in two days. Started at 6 a.m. and set up camp at Deep Lake around 6 p.m. Decided last minute to take the Goldmyer Alternate route and finished up at Alpental late in the evening in day 2.

I do this Section a couple of times each year and am amazed at the great condition of the trail. A great big thank you to all those volunteers that do the hard work keeping the PCT safe and in good condition.

This was the earliest I have done this section and the snow was present in many areas, but very manageable. I also tend to camp at Deep Lake each time out and tolerate the mosquitoes. Lot’s of bug spray and am thinking of passing by next time to avoid them.

Great couple of days of solitude. Just what I needed.

on Pratt Lake Trail

2 months ago

Great trail thats in good shape. A few flies and mosquitoes near Talapus connector but nothing crazy.

hiking
2 months ago

We made the summit today after about 4.5 hr hike from the trail head of Denny Creek. The way up to the lake Melakwa was smooth, then we followed the trail right-side of the "Toilet" sign all the way to the first fake peak and then going down for a few hundred feet and then up again to the summit. The last 200 ft or so were full of loose rocks. I climbed on the left side which was steeper than the right-side way up which was taken by my friend.

The view from the top was nice. The peak was surrounded by a number of lakes, lake Kaleetan, lake Chair peak, Snow lake, lake Melakwa, ... As I am also preparing a winter circumnav of Chair peak so this view from the top of Kaleetan is very informative to plan the winter ski tour.

The way down was tricky due to a lot of loose rocks. So be careful if you are solo, or if you do not bring helmet.

A lot of bugs on the trail!!!

backpacking
2 months ago

I solo hiked this section going SOBO in early July. With luck I had amazing weather each day, but still had to cross several snow fields even in July. This section offered lots of ups and downs with many switchbacks, scree with several stream ford crossings.

hiking
2 months ago

Todd, I just did Kaleetan today and can give you some hints. If you want to to the west ridge route, cross the log over Lake Melakwa's discharge stream. There will be an old sign on a tree pointing to the left that says "toilet" follow that trail to the second sign. Go to the right of the tree and continue on the trail to the first little summit. After the second summit it drops down the western side a couple of hundred feet before continuing to Kaleetan. Along the way you will come to a saddle just before the scramble section. That is where the gully from the other route; going up the valley past Upper Lake Melakwa, joins the trail. I mistakenly returned that route and wouldn't do it again. At the bottom of the gully is a short cliff that needs to be carefully navigated and I was solo. The scree fields below the gully are steep, loose and no trail that I could find down to the lake. It took a lot more effort rock hopping than the ridge route would have taken.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great little backpacking trip. The route is varied and fun. The first half of the hike is pretty standard uphill slog, broken up by some very neat views, including a long wooden bridge and multiple water falls. There are some technical elements to the 2nd half of the hike, as you descend into the basin, which makes it more fun and challenging. Overall the hike was pretty easy when broken up into a 2 day backpacking trip.

There's no evidence of snow anywhere on the trail and it is nice and warm as of this writing. Take a swim in the lake, it is well worth it.

Stunning views! Start early (we arrived 0645 and had plenty of spaces in parking lot) and bring mosquito netting/hat, bugs didn’t bite but they were fierce and numerous! Swim in Mason on way down was fantastic.

hiking
3 months ago

Okkkkk . . Need help . . We did not summit. Went to Melakwa Lake. There is boot path on the west side of Melakwa and on the east side of Upper Melakwa and it continues up the valley to the right shoulder of Kaleetan Peak. Couple of questions . . Is there another boot path that approaches the peak from the west side? If so, was it by the “toilet” Sign just before you get to Melakwa Lake? Anddd . . Is there a boot path to the summit going up the valley past Upper Melakwa Lake? We got to 5,220 ft at the eastern base of Kaleetan and turned around. See pic. Wildflowers are out . .I don’t think this trail has a great deal of wildflowers. Crazy scenic hike . . Highly recommend it. Snowshoe Falls along with Melakwa and Upper Melakwa Lake. There are No directional signs at Melakwa Lake. Very easy to get “lost.”

Perfect conditions to head up, tons of blooming wildflowers also as others have said that last mile wow! Bugs at the top so bring bug spray and don’t forget to sign the summit register

Great hike, the lake is beautiful and worth it. The hike from the Granite Mountain trailhead to the lake is about 7 miles one way, so about 14 miles round trip

hiking
3 months ago

Very disappointed, only one single point close to the lake for camping, the only reason I give 3 starts is because it has nice mini waterfalls during the trail and good views to the lake, but once you get to it there is not much to do, not spaces to sit, or admire the lake. Not much to do there, the kind of hike you only do once

Great view near the top, and on a hot day, refreshing lake to swim in!

Attempted a SOBO training hike this past weekend and had to turn back despite my spikes. Hopefully the sun this week will help

trail running
3 months ago

We actually approached this from the Pratt Lake trailhead, making it a 16.3 mile round trip. The trail is in good condition and it wasn't buggy. But it was wet and slippery in places. There were also a few small snow fields left, with serious postholing and snow-bridge collapse potential. But overall a great trail.

Went to Defiance on 6/26, our group finished the Mason lake hike faster than anstisipated so we decided to hike Mt. Defiance. Well worth it, few small snow patches left and a couple fallen down trees but very douable in sneakers. From Ira springs trail to the peak and back was about a 7 hour hike with gracious breaks.

Tremendous hike on a perfect weather day. Arrived at Ira Spring trailhead at 7:30 AM and got the last actual parking spot.. cars already accumulating on the road.

Marsh area leading up to Defiance ridge from Mason Lake is really buggy right now. Still some snow going up the ridge, but nothing significant. Trail breaks out above the treeline into what's basically a wildflower garden. Fun but steep ascent up to the summit. 360 degree views. Rainier and Adams to the south, Baker and Glacier peak to the north. Very hot on the exposed ridgelines on the way down.

Mileage listed on description is low. 11+ miles roundtrip.

amazing flower display

Loved the trail to the lake and it was all good until hitting the snow just 20 mins after leaving the lakeside. Continued from there on spikes, but jít a steep slope of snow, which in the warm.weather didn't seem too stable. Had to turn around cca 300m (elevation) shy of the peak. Went back and did Bandera instead. Would want to come back and attempt again, looks beautiful.

Got to experience Defiance on a perfect day. Slow-going to the top due to snow on the trails but the views were unreal. Mount Rainier was out in all her glory.

hiking
4 months ago

Description and recent reviews accurate. Went today and snow is still present around 4.5 miles in. The trail is very hard to follow with the snow. Still very pretty and we enjoyed as far as we got. Several small and medium sized water falls.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful walk. It’s a steady climb as far as I could get but I ran into snow about 3600 ft. This time of year, with the snow melting, there were several really beautiful water falls and easy stream crossings. From the trail head to the snow, which covered the trail at an old log bridge, there was not a single point that the trail leveled out but it was only about a 15% grade the whole way. I went mid week and only passed eight people. The Trillium are blooming, and the trail is in good shape except for a couple of trees that have fallen across the trail. It’s a real nice sauntering path. I’m a casual hiker and it’s slow down when I get winded to pace myself so I’d say most anyone could go at least as far as I did, but then again, I only got half way before the trail was completely obscured by snow.

great pit stop while backpacking through the alpine lakes for flyfishing.

Your socks will get wet. Tons of streams on the way. A few waterfall streams that have slippery rocks. Hike felt like 12-13 miles.

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